Monday, October 5, 2015

Pattern Release: Ornaments Cowl

This summer I decided to try something new. I took Lucy Neatby's class on double knitting on It was fabulous and definitely the genesis of my latest cowl design I call Ornaments.

Double knitting is so clean because it creates two faces and hides all the purling and color changing on the inside. I did find parts that bothered me and with more practice I'm sure I would master them but I decided to remove the pains for my first piece. There are no special cast-ons or cast-offs or edge techniques or shaping. It's all in the round colorwork fun!

When I found out by the math that you can have a slight natural ruffle on the bottom and top, well that was music in my head. Ruffles and colorwork! Oh yes please and thank you!

I chose Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in a muted tone of red and green (color ways Hollyberry and Aurora Heather) to give it a classic feel and hopefully allow you to wear it into January. (Because who takes down their tree directly after Christmas?)

There is, of course, more than one way to wear it.

This cowl is dedicated to the memory of my mother, who loved a red cowl and kept Christmas well.

You can find this pattern in my Ravelry and Craftsy stores. Hopefully it will be coming to Knit Picks soon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Artist's Moment: More behind the scenes of Ghosts In the Night

September has shot by, again. I have been knitting and nearing completion of a new red and green cowl pattern. I hate to spill all the beans before the launch but the pattern is coming soon (or it better be!)

Right now I want to share the unused scene that Mary had drawn for Ghosts In the Night. I had mistakenly said that it was this picture in my prior post.  That was long before I had seen the final production of the ebook. They actually had used that picture!

This picture was the unused art.

It is a slightly different style when Mary was working out her characters. Still, a fun, ghostly picture to bring us into October!

Note for teachers: Schoolwide is offering free access for educators. You can sign up here and see Ghosts In the Night too!

Upcoming on the blog: pattern launch and an update on the question, will my husband ever get his pair of blue socks this year? Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday knitting is for prayer shawls

In 2004, I was given a prayer shawl at my church after the still birth of my daughter. This was such a comfort and healing for me that I joined the ministry right away to create shawls for others. Knitting the shawls jump-started me back into making which led to designing patterns today.

The ministry at our church has waxed and waned in participation. After a few years I felt the need to do other things and increase my skills. But now I feel called back to try to re-create the prayer circle (or at least increase the church's supply of shawls to give!) 

So for anyone who is local, I will be at the church starting Sept 20, at Pioneer Club time, knitting on a shawl and available to teach knitting or about the ministry. There is yarn available and I have a few needles to spare. I hope you will come for the yarn, the prayers, and the fellowship.

(For more info about the ministry: we follow the guidance on )

Grace and peace be with you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I just kept on knitting

I'm back to knitting on the husband's second blue sock as I take a breather. I have been conducting an epic, action packed, 10 year-old's dream summer vacation. I did things I haven't done in decades. We swam, biked, bowled, ice skated, roller skated, jumped at a trampoline park, and slid down water slides to list a few highlights. Fortunately, I only fell off my bike once to my embarrassment, bruising my leg and ego.

The young one is back in school now and I'm organizing my next projects. I did finish the pair of socks that I mentioned in a prior post but I've been hesitant to show them. They didn't turn out as I had hoped so I won't be writing the pattern.

The motif which I thought looked cool on paper didn't turn out as clear as I would have liked in knitting.

The funny thing is that I finished them. I should have frogged them but I just kept on knitting. They are my socks now. They're shorties and very comfy. I like the leg height and basic placement of the designs but I need to go back to the drawing board for something different.

Right now I'm challenging myself to design a color work cowl with double knitting, Do you double knit? It's an adventure!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Minnie moving to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (and an Artist Moment)

I have been writing for so long and for so many alternate markets that it was stunning to learn that my work was put into the fold of a large publisher. Assets of MeeGenius (like Minnie's Green Book) have been acquired by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - really, for real!

It's a hard journey to publication for picture books, especially picture books like mine with more words than the market standard (at the moment 400-500 words). Minnie is written more like picture storybooks of old. I don't know why, it just came out that way.

Anyway seeking an agent is like hunting for unicorns. They are particular. You must have the incantation (query) written exactly right and know their favorite watering holes, all while not looking like a creepy hunter/stalker. Seeking one of the large publishers is like knocking on the door of a castle to ask for a seat at tea time. Agent unicorns are invited; almost everybody else is not. So I've been hanging out in Sherwood Forest with a merry band of e-publishers and having a jolly time.  I wish MeeGenius the best in their next adventure.

I don't think I've shown many people the few illos that Mary Parker had done for Minnie. She had started them late in life and couldn't complete the number required for ebook publishing. Here is one of my favorites where the fairies are dancing on Minnie's flute, messing up her practice.

Copyright:  Mary F. Parker

I think I have at least one more Minnie story to write between managing the family and the knit designing. I hope my new castle will support it.

Next up: New socks

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Moment In Sock

I didn't want to let July completely pass without a hello to the blog. It has been super hot around here. Hard to knit in the heat, much less think about knits.

I have been working on a new sock design though. Here is a teaser of the first sock off the needles, unblocked in fuzzy glory:

That's worked in Knit Picks Stroll, cork and pumpkin colors.

I'm on a bit of a sock design bender and I finally figured out why. Last year I stubbed my second toe at the gym. It hurt but I put ice on it and worked (probably like most busy moms) to ignore it while taking care of everybody else. After some six to eight weeks later, my toe still hurt and I finally went to a foot doctor. He told me I broke it and that he could have done something for me if I had come in within the first two weeks. But not to worry it wouldn't interfere with anything and will take another two months to fully heal. Doh!

Now it just sort of looks weird in a slight permanently stubbed way. But I'll always remember how I didn't take care of myself though and for that I'm knitting lots of socks.

Take care of your feet. Stick to your knitting. Fall is coming.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jackson Soaring Hat plus five designer years

I can't let June pass without reflecting on my designer anniversary of sorts. Five Junes ago, I was hit by an idea, knit, wrote up my first pattern and launched it on Ravelry. I had no idea what I was getting into but it was fun.

Since then, I've come a long way, learned a whole lot, and happily it's still fun! I thank everybody for all the support and help given.

Right now, I've been knitting on things that I can't show yet. (I'm on a sock design bender at the moment.) But I did make a hat out of that lovely Jackson yarn I showed you in this post.

Yes, it is a fuzzier version of Soaring. It turned out lovely. Despite the 100 degree (F) weather here, I managed to wear it ice skating with my daughter. I know I'll enjoy it this winter when I go out to monitor the school bus stop.

One more interesting thing to show you is this cactus that was probably transplanted into our yard by a squirrel about three years ago. It's been blooming yellow flowers this year, amazing.

Happy June!